Nutson's Nuggets: Last Week's Automotive News and Opinion Aug 25-31, 2014
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief Chicago Bureau
The Auto Channel
Auto Central Louisville, KY August 31, 2014; Every Sunday, along with Steve Purdy and Thom Cannell from The Auto Channel Michigan Bureau give you our "take" on this past week's automotive news as easy to digest nuggets.
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Nutson's Automotive News Factoids - Week of Aug 25-31, 2014.
* All the buzz in Detroit this week is that Cadillac is considering to move its sales and marketing staff to New York City. Curiously, the news comes just days after the luxury brand’s new boss, Johan de Nysschen, reported for work. de Nysschen is from South African and previously headed Infiniti, joining that brand as it moved from Japan to Hong Kong. Before that, de Nysschen was CEO of Audi of America as it moved from suburban Detroit to a new complex run by parent Volkswagen AG in suburban Washington, DC. Perhaps he said in his negotiations with GM that I'll take the job but I won't live in Detroit, again.
* Finally, after months and months of speculation and rumor we saw details of the new Volvo XC90, successor to the vehicle that helped defined the crossover (CUV) genre. Volvo execs pronounce this the relaunch of the brand and not just of one vehicle. While Chinese owned, Volvos continues to be designed and manufactured in Sweden. The new XC90 will have a more muscular and bold look and as much technology as they can pack into it. A well-equipped T6 AWD model will list at an MSRP of around 49 grand.
* The first 2015 Mustang rolled off the line at the Flat Rock, MI assembly plant this week. Ford plans to sell this generation of Mustang in 120 countries, an ambitious goal, indeed. The new car will be available at U.S. dealers in a few months. As the sixth generation of the Mustang in its 50 years this new one features new front and rear suspension, new subframes, new styling inside and out and it will start at an MSRP of $23,600 with the 300-hp V6. A 310-hp 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder will be optional.
* Detroit’s favorite son designer, Camilo Pardo, who led the design of the Ford GT, won the “Motor City Masters” reality show competition this week. The show, hosted by Jean Jennings, started out with 10 designers and whittled that down to one winner. The final competition involved penning a design for the next generation Chevy Camaro. Top prize was 100 grand and a new Camaro.
* Auctions America by RM presents their Auburn Fall Auction this weekend in conjunction with the annual Auburn, Cord, Deusenberg Festival in Auburn, Indiana. Hundreds of collector cars will cross the block and many will be in the ‘affordable’ category, as opposed to the high-line auctions in California recently where we seldom saw a car go for less than 100 grand. In Auburn there will be many cars in the $10,000 range. NBS Sports Network will be covering the four days of event including six hours of live coverage.
* General Motors' Warren (Michigan) Technical Center is implementing a bike share program – the first of its kind from any U.S. automaker – that will enable its 19,000 employees to commute more easily both on and off campus. GM is working with Zagster, a private bike sharing company that has developed similar programs for other businesses. Employees can use Zagster bikes stationed throughout the Tech Center to travel between its 61 buildings covering the 330-acre campus.
* First Mazda and now Suzuki. Spiders have forced Suzuki to recall more than 19,000 midsize cars. The automaker says spider webs can clog a fuel vapor vent hose in some 2010 to 2013 Kizashi cars, cutting off air flow. If that happens, it can cause the gas tank to deform, causing cracks, fuel leaks and possible fires.
* How's your crystal ball working? On the same day we heard this: Cars.com forecasts August light, new-vehicle sales will hit 1,503,640 units, up 0.2 percent year-over-year and 4.8 percent from July. A SAAR of 16.6 million is expected for the month, an increase of 4.1 percent from August 2013 and 0.7 percent month-over-month.
* And also this: New-vehicle sales are expected to decrease 0.7 percent year-over-year to a total of 1.49 million units, resulting in an estimated 16.5 million seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR), according to Kelley Blue Book. In August, new light-vehicle sales, including fleet, are expected to hit 1,490,000 units, down 0.7 percent from August 2013 and up 4.0 percent from July 2014.
* A massive sinkhole that swallowed eight prized Corvettes won't be a permanent attraction at the National Corvette Museum in Kentucky. The museum's board of directors voted to fill in the entire hole that opened up in February and became an Internet sensation. Curiosity over the hole revved up attendance and revenue for the museum in Bowling Green. Board members reversed course by deciding against preserving a section of the gaping hole. The option of keeping part of the hole open lost favor because of added costs due to safety features. The museum also announced that only three of the eight Corvettes that fell into the sinkhole will be restored--the Blue Devil 2009 Corvette ZR1 prototype, the 1-millionth Corvette built (a white 1992 convertible), and a black 1962 Corvette. The others will be displayed as is.
* After a three-race absence following his Aug. 9 sprint car accident at Canandaigua (N.Y.) Motorsports Park that took the life of Kevin Ward Jr., Tony Stewart will be back inside his familiar No. 14 Chevrolet this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race.
* In late news, Will Power finally knows what it feels like to win an IndyCar championship. After three years as a runner-up, Power ran a mostly conservative 500-mile race at Auto Club Speedway to claim his first title and give team owner Roger Penske his first since 2006.
* We wish all of our readers and followers a safe and wonderful Labor Day Weekend. Travel safe.